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Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi's historic first meeting in 2008

  • The first meeting between Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi was way back in 2008 in the UEFA Champions League.
  • Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have a staggering 11 Ballon d'Or awards between them.
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Modified 17 May 2020, 17:34 IST

Barcelona v Manchester United - UEFA Champions League semi-final 2008
Barcelona v Manchester United - UEFA Champions League semi-final 2008

Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi are two of the greatest footballers of our generation. The duo have dominated world football since making their debuts and have won a staggering 11 Ballon d'Or awards between them.

While Lionel Messi continues to ply his trade for Barcelona, Cristiano Ronaldo has been Juventus' talisman since securing a move to Turin in the summer of 2018. Both players are still going strong in their 30s and have shown no signs of slowing down, cementing their status as all-time greats of the game.

Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have faced off several times in domestic as well as in European competitions over the years. La Liga witnessed some of the best games in the modern era, thanks in no small part to the superstar duo.

Cristiano Ronaldo v Lionel Messi in 2008 - a blast from the past

Barcelona v Manchester United - UEFA Champions League Final
Barcelona v Manchester United - UEFA Champions League Final

The first meeting between Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo was way back in 2008. Cristiano Ronaldo was arguably the best player in the world at the time, but Messi's ability meant he was right up there with the Portuguese international despite being three years younger.

Barcelona were drawn against Manchester United in the semi-final of the UEFA Champions League, as the duo grabbed the headlines worldwide. The Blaugrana hosted Sir Alex Ferguson's side at the Camp Nou, but the game and the game wasn't shy of drama.

While the final scoreline read 0-0, Cristiano Ronaldo made the headlines once again. Having been fouled inside the penalty area in the first half, the Portuguese marksman stepped up for the spot-kick himself.

However, Ronaldo blazed the ball above the goal, much to his despair. Lionel Messi, on the other hand, had a relatively quiet outing.

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Cristiano Ronaldo was once again fouled inside the penalty area, but Manchester United did not receive a spot-kick this time around, as the game finished all square.

A week later in the second leg at Old Trafford, the game burst into life. Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo met on the big stage once again, but despite their brilliance, the scores remained tied in the opening exchanges.

FIFA Ballon d
FIFA Ballon d'Or Gala 2015

However, Paul Scholes' stunning strike in the 14th minute proved to be the decisive goal of the tie, as Manchester United made it through to the finals to set up a mouthwatering clash with Premier League rivals Chelsea.

Lionel Messi and co were sent packing, as Cristiano Ronaldo's side won the competition on penalties a few weeks later. As fate would have it, the two sides met once again in the Champions League next season, this time in the final.

As Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo locked horns in the biggest game of the season, Barcelona got their hands on the trophy this time around. The diminutive Argentine got his name on the scoresheet and helped his side secure a 2-0 victory, as he lifted the trophy for the second time in his career.

The game also turned out to be Cristiano Ronaldo's last game for Manchester United, as he secured a world-record move to Real Madrid in the summer of 2009.


Published 17 May 2020, 17:34 IST
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